Being the youngest child in your family isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be… it’s so much more. Yes, there’s plenty of jealousy and incessant teasing to deal with, but once you get past that it can be pretty glorious.

With that in mind, here are all the things you only know if you’re the youngest child – sorry, eldest and middle sibs, but we definitely got the sweet end of the deal.

Your birth was met with a mixture of jealousy and relief from your siblings

Another kid to share toys and hugs with, but thankfully you were the last new addition to the fam.

For the first five years of your life, you were probably meaner to them than they ever were to you.

Because when else can you get away with biting, scratching and nipping without landing yourself in serious trouble with your parents?

But then the tables turned

You quickly became the butt of all their jokes and they would never let you hang out with them and their friends during school lunchtime.

God forbid anyone join in with their teasing, though

They were allowed to call you any names they wanted, but if their friends joined in there would be hell to pay, because “THAT’S MY LITTLE SISTER!”

Somehow you still desperately wanted to hang out with them

If everyone at school saw you hanging out with an older crowd they’d think you were so cool.

And occasionally they’d let you

If only to get your mum off their case and make a little extra pocket money in the process.

You resented them for their hand-me-downs

Prints that went out of fashion four years ago and busted elastic waistbands were par for the course.

But you were (and still are) definitely a little spoiled

Even if not materialistically, your parents let you get away with so much more than your elder sibs, and because of that you were never grounded nearly as much as them.

Sometimes ‘spoiled’ stretches into ‘overprotected’ territory

Cue your fam vetting all potential suitors who dare to even look in your direction. You probably won’t date until you’re 30, but you’ve learned to accept that fact.

Yet you love your big sibs and all their weird ways regardless

They just ‘get’ you like nobody else.

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Image: Amber Griffin

The only thing worse than having a little sister who adores you and constantly copies you, is having a little sister who has recently decided that you’re less cool than a school assembly about litter.

When I was 11, my 10-year-old sister Beth was my one-girl fandom. I’d dread school break times, as she’d rush towards me in the playground and wrap her arms around my waist like a rubber ring – I’d wriggle and struggle, grumbling as she slowed me down and stopped me from finding a dinner lady to complain to. She made up songs, stories and secret worlds, searching out the weirdness in everything, always spotting something magical amongst the small and unseen.

She filled our shared bedroom with ice cream cartons full of snails, which she ‘raced’ across our garden – and she treated her tiny friends with intense tenderness. When I complained about our new roommates and said it was “disgusting” to sleep with snails, she’d say “Shhhh! They can hear you!” She was passionate, she was sincere, and she always wanted to join in.

But I was horrible to her.

I didn’t want her playing with my perfume or reading my magazines, because she was a ‘baby’. I was too busy talking about boys (not to boys, let’s not be crazy) to be bothered about her snails.

Then, as we both headed towards our teens, something shifted. I guess I got what I deserved.

Beth became cooler than me – and suddenly, I became the annoying one. She found new friends. We started listening to different music. While she’d once begged to be involved when I went on about which song was number one, she started bragging about being a fan of alternative bands, and told me that I was pathetic for listening to what was in the charts. She used to say I looked like a princess when I wore a pretty dress. I was “way too girly” and “clearly had no personality or any individuality”.

I would have given anything – the £57 in my Halifax savings account, my best nail polish, the pale pink Topshop aviator jacket I’d spent months saving up for – to get babyish Beth back. I would have taken her to every single party I was invited to, and she could have held onto my waist all night long. But she’d rather wear a dreaded princess party dress in public than be seen with me.

Beth seemed so tough and together that I was stunned when I walked past her room one morning and heard muffled sobs. I thought she said my name. I must have been imagining things. Then she said it again. I gently pushed the door open.

“Don’t tell Mum,” she murmured, and my brain immediately exploded with terrifying thoughts about what might be wrong. “But I’ve started.”

My first reaction was relief that nothing horrible had happened. But when I looked at Beth’s face, I realised that to her, it was horrible. Her body was changing, and it had frightened her.

I’d started my periods over a year ago, and was starting to find the rhythm of my body quite comforting, from the familiar ache in my lower back, a couple of days before I was due, to that feeling of prickly tearfulness that disappeared the moment the period arrived.

“It’s OK.” I held my arms out to her. “At the moment, it feels like nothing in the world will ever be OK again. But this is the worst part, I promise.” She stayed stiff for a second, then hugged me back.

“You really do have to tell Mum, though. She’ll know exactly what to do.”

We weren’t exactly BFFs again – and as we grew up and got older, we became even more different, and even better at antagonising each other.

But from that moment, we were in a conspiracy of two. A slightly awkward tag team who knew exactly how to wind each other up, but who would always share hot water bottles. Even on the occasions when I was barely speaking to Beth, I’d always offer her my last two Nurofen.

Sisters are strange, and even though we’re both grown up, I’ll never stop being thrilled and bewildered by the fact that Beth can be simultaneously so similar and so different from me. When we were on the brink of our teens, those differences seemed like a huge divide. But learning that our bodies worked in the same way, even if our minds didn’t, brought us back together again.


It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: 10 Things I Hate About You